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173rd FW Airman creates "Farmer's Market", donates excess produce

173rd FW Farmer's Market

Lt. Col. Shana Stroh, the 173rd Fighter Wing Comptroller who organized a “Farmer’s Market” provides recipes for beet greens, which she donated from her garden, Sept. 4, 2018. Stroh came up with the idea because her garden produces more than her family can use during late summer and early fall. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson)

173rd FW Farmer's Market

Fresh beets were among the items provided during a “Farmer’s Market” organized by the 173rd Fighter Wing Finance Office, Sept. 4, 2018. The market was a way for 173rd Fighter Wing Airmen to donate excess produce from their gardens rather than let it go to waste. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson)

KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --

The 173rd Finance Office saw an opportunity to practice generosity and foster healthy eating by creating a “Farmer’s Market” at Kingsley Field, in the late summer of 2018.

Lt. Col. Shana Stroh, the 173rd Fighter Wing comptroller, says her garden is producing beyond her family’s needs so she decided to give it away to members of the wing.

She started with getting permission—there are certain things you can’t give away for public health reasons like eggs and meat—and she recruited other gardeners to bring in their excess produce.

“The way were doing it is just a self-serve farmer’s market,” she said. “It’s for people that have extra and who want to give it away to people on the base, and it’s fresh produce.”

All of the items on the table are free-of-charge and are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Stroh says it’s a nice union between having so much on-hand and feeling good about being generous.

“You’re either going to store it, process and can it or your just going to have way too much,” she said. “I actually intentionally planted extra rows just for this.”

The last week of August and the first week of September saw two tables full of fresh produce provided to the wing, and they plan to do another in mid-to-late September.

“There is so much that is growing, I can’t keep up with it,” said Tech. Sgt. Alicia Edick, a finance technician. “I’d rather give it to someone who can use it, rather than throw it away.”

Stroh says there are plans to expand the program and she envisions next year having more produce.  She adds that any produce left after the farmers market is donated to the local food bank.